Recently on the Monte Vista Community Awareness page on Facebook, members were commenting about cats scurrying along their fence lines and dropping scat in their yards. The discussion was as if someone in particular owned the cats. One comment said there was a person in the neighborhood who fed all kinds of cats, denied she owned them when asked and even had a housing set up in a back yard. These feral cats are our community cats. They belong to all of us; they are all of our responsibility, too.
Cats Alive SLV and ALPHA explain in the Valley Courier that irresponsible pet owners are often to blame for the exploding feline population. Those owners left their charge, not spayed or neutered, to meander about the neighborhood. The ASPCA (aspcapro.org) on their site writes: “Female cats can breed three times a year and have an average of 4 kittens per litter. . . . In just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens . . . .”
I’ve joined Cats Alive SLV for this reason—to help curb cat population. In the last year, I have saved 12 or more cats that could have birthed a few cat trees full of kittens. Of course, it wasn’t me that saved them but the hard workers like Marge, Donna, Lisa, Yvette, Marianna and others who were in the trenches, so to speak, building cat condos, delivering cat food to volunteers, and trapping-neutering-releasing the kittens. They helped get a couple this past month who had been sick or injured care at the Monte Vista Animal Clinic where Dr. Deal treated them, and Carla coordinated the saves.
Monte Vista, in general, has embraced this effort to feed, shelter and care for these discarded beings. As a community we could come together even more by donating cat food and supplies to construct more cat condos. We could volunteer to help rake yards for those volunteers like me who are making a difference in cats’ lives by watching out for them, feeding them regularly, and enjoying the blessings that one of God’s creatures can bring to a human. The purring is so heartwarming; the antics are the stuff of YouTube fame. Anyhow, volunteers are wanted in Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Del Norte.
Some ferals, if tiny kittens, can be tamed to be household pets; but it’s a more involved proposition if you want to tame an older feral cat. Cat daddy Jackson Galaxy, a rocker by night, often shows how to make friends with a skittish cat and it can apply to ferals as well. CAUTION however—a feral cat might claw or injure if pushed too quickly to act domestic. Throughout the day, the tabbies, tortoiseshells, and solid cats lounge on my deck in the sun and with a gentle paw-grab of my hand convince me it’s supper time.
Cats ALIVE SLV (catsaliveslv.com) has vouchers for $20 spay and neuter (plus shots) for cats again. They can also trap, neuter and release the cats back where they were found—even providing food after they are neutered/spayed. For more information about feral colonies and how to help, watch My Cat from Hell (Season 10, episode 12, Philly’s Forgotten Cats) on Animal Planet starring Jackson Galaxy (not affiliated with Cats Alive SLV). Visit the Facebook page for Cats Alive SLV (facebook.com/CatsAliveSLV/) and call for more information: [email protected] or (719)298-7028. Bring on the solution—DONATE or VOLUNTEER.
—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]